Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Best YouTube Channels for History Teachers

Here are my favorite YouTube resources for the history classroom. They've been sorted into two categories: METHODOLOGY and CONTENT.

Methodology


The Teaching Channel

I recently started watching videos on the Teaching Channel website thanks to a recommendation from an assistant principal. I've found a few inspiring lesson ideas there that I've been able to adjust for my students and my classroom.  My favorite so far suggests teaching the Declaration of Independence as a break-up letter:

If you find something on The Teaching Channel YouTube channel you can go to their website to find more resources and discussions related to that lesson.  My favorite videos lately on the YouTube channel are the interviews of teachers and students surrounding Teacher Appreciation Week and the National Teacher of the Year. They are inspiring and can really recharge an over-taxed educator near the end of a long school year.

Stanford History Education Group (SHEG)

The SHEG website is a rich resource for lessons that teach students to read and analyze primary and secondary sources effectively. Not only that, the historical questions posed in the lessons are interesting for teenagers.  Their YouTube channel has great videos with guidance on teaching document analysis and there are examples of teachers using their methodology as well.  Recently I got into a conversation on Twitter with a few fellow history teachers on whether primary sources should be excerpted or if the language should be modernized when given to students at lower reading levels.  This SHEG YouTube channel video became an important part of that conversation:

There are many other videos available to provide guidance to both new and seasoned history teachers. I really like the source analysis method from SHEG: sourcing, contextualization, close reading and inferring, corroboration, and significance. Your students can benefit from video clips explaining and demonstrating each of these steps of analysis before diving into historical documents in your classroom.

Content


Crash Course

These videos are fast paced, funny, honest, and packed with content. Crash Course creator John Green informs and entertains with insightful humor and cool animations. My recommendation is to use these videos as review, rather than first exposure to information, because of the pacing.  I've used a few videos, or segments of them, with both my freshmen and sophomore classes this year.  The one that seemed to have the greatest impact was about the treatment of Native Americans by Spanish explorers.  My 9th graders gained a deeper understanding of the misconceptions the Spaniards had of Native American belief systems and cultures that led to unspeakable persecution.
 I think my favorite part of the Crash Course videos is the "Mystery Document." John Green reads the text of a primary source aloud and then identifies the author and title... or else he gets shocked by a buzzer pen.  Yes, it is entertaining, but it also demonstrates document analysis in a humorous way to my students.

For your teacher friends in other departments, Crash Course has video playlists on psychology, chemistry, biology, ecology, and literature in addition to the world and U.S. history lists that I love.

HipHughes History

Keith Hughes is a history teacher just like you and me, but he uses his quirky sense of humor to put together short, funny, content rich videos for his students. Lucky for us, he publishes them on YouTube and we get to use them too!  I recently used this one on the controversy surrounding the Presidential Election of 1876.

I love it when a history teacher can use "cray cray" in an academic context and make it work.

If you struggle to get kids to sit up straight and engage when you're showing video clips in class, check out my recent post on making videos more of an activity than a passive experience. There are great suggestions for flipping your classroom there as well.

Please feel free to add more great YouTube channel suggestions in the comments below!